14 August 2015

The preachers of hate who want to tear ordinary Muslims apart

At a religious conference in Birmingham three months ago, a bearded cleric wearing a white turban shook with anger as he wagged a finger at his audience. The over-amplified voice of Mumtaz ul Haq echoed around the room while he hectored his audience about the differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

This was no thoughtful theological discussion, however. Mr Haq’s lecture, available on YouTube under the title Shia Exposed, condemned the minority denomination as non-Muslims. “Such people are not just kafir [non-believers], they are kufoor [a worse category of non-believer],” he cried.

.... Moderate Sunnis were also quick to distance themselves from sectarian rhetoric. Qari Muhammad Asim, imam at Leeds Makkah mosque, said: “Our faith doesn’t condone takfir [excommunication] of another. This increasing takfir rhetoric is a cancer eating away at the Muslim community.”

The preachers defended their words. Mr Haq said that he never preached violence. “I see my role as a defender of my faith. It’s an issue of theology and they are in response to hatred from Shia scholars against our revered figures.” [The Times (£)] Read more